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GLASGOW, Scotland (ChurchMilitant.com) - A faithful Scottish priest has been fired for holding a service of atonement for his city's annual gay pride parade last weekend.
On Monday night, Fr, Mark Morris, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (IHOM) in Balornock, led a parish "Rosary of reparation for the gross offense to God which is Pride Glasgow."
Shortly after, the service was brought to the attention of officials at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), where Fr. Morris served as chaplain. He was promptly sacked.
The move has outraged faithful Scottish Catholics. "John," a member of the archdiocese of Glasgow, told Church Militant Thursday, "I've met Fr. Morris on a number of occasions and I've only ever found him to be a caring, gentle and pastoral priest. He did not deserve dismissal by the university nor the wrath of the Scottish national media for his parish Rosary."
In a logically inconsistent defense of Fr. Morris' dismissal, GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Pamela Gillies denounced his orthodox Catholic perspective as "antithetical to [the views] held by the University," while proclaiming GCU to be "strongly inclusive and committed to supporting equality and diversity on campus."
On Wednesday, campus gay group LGBT+ Liberation applauded the decision: "Thanks to the resilience of our community, and the string of complaints made directly to the university, and a thorough internal investigation, Father Morris will no longer work within GCU."
"While this is great news for us," they added, "we wish to extend our hand to the Catholic community within GCU, to work together and make sure we can co-exist in a way that we are all accepted, and our views respected on an equal basis."
But, faithful Catholics are pointing out, Fr. Morris' firing demonstrates that campus gay activists are not willing to respect orthodox Catholic views "on an equal basis" with their own. They are blasting GCU's move as an affront to religious liberty and freedom of speech — an act of persecution.
"It sets a worrying precedent for the independence of Church teaching and presence on campus with regards to religious freedom. Many of my non-Catholic friends — who, incidentally, are pro-LGBT — feel this was too draconian a measure," John told Church Militant Thursday.
"This is very sad news about the treatment of Father Morris," said another. "When freedom of speech is only the privilege of certain groups, doesn't it lose its very meaning? Silencing people who don't share your notions of tolerance hardly seems to be in the spirit of inclusivity, the poster child of our times."
"It seems startlingly similar to instances when people's jobs were at stake during the Soviet era if they didn't actively promulgate the party's ideology," she added.
Described as an "excellent" pastor and "one of the few traditional priests in Scotland," Fr. Morris' supporters are rallying to his defense.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, GCU Catholic Community declared its backing for their chaplain:
The Catholic Community at GCU would like to express our full support and solidarity with Fr. Mark Morris at this time. He is a faithful priest who has served our community with joy, dignity and a smiling face for many years now. We are extremely disappointed that the university have decided to dismiss Fr. Morris. It is frankly abhorrent that a Catholic priest would be dismissed from his post as a Catholic chaplain for merely reaffirming the teachings of the Catholic faith.
In line with Church teaching, Fr. Morris has made it clear on many occasions that homosexual persons are called to a life of chastity. In no way does this mean that homosexual persons are not welcome here at the chaplaincy, nor does it mean that they have fallen short of the love of God. ... Nonetheless, it seems that Glasgow Caledonian University have a very warped understanding of "Equality and Diversity," whereby they have permitted absolutely no diversity of opinion whatsoever.
In a conversation with Church Militant Thursday, "Gordon," an IHOM parishioner, echoed GCU Catholic Community's praise.